Crises and role of crisis managers. IPN Experts
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13:05, 11 Oct 2018

The coming of parliamentary elections is increasingly felt owing to the fuss of political leaders and the abundance of new initiatives that are actually very old. Surely, the pre-electoral context requires the elevation of the citizens’ social optimism. The rulers try to do this by all the available means. However, they are somehow unconvincing. For example, if at the end of the government’s mandate persons called crisis managers for a particular area are employed, it’s clear for everyone that there is a crisis in the given area or a crisis manager wouldn’t have been needed.

The example in the health sector is the last example of an acute crisis. Leaving aside the concrete examples that highlighted the crisis in the health system, we should refer to the recent measures taken by crisis manager Silvia Radu, who was invested as minister of health, labor and social protection on September 25, 2018. In the October 10 talk show “Important”  on TVC21 channel, Missis Silvia Radu took stock of the most pressing problems faced in the health sector that she is to take out of the crisis during the next five months, until the parliamentary elections of February 24, 2019. Two major problems were thus identified:

1. The problem of salaries is a very pressing in the health sector. This is a priority and the Ministry of Health, Labor and Social Protection is considering possibilities so as to solve this problem... We are now studying the case and, even if we cannot raise the salaries to the level of pays in Romania, for example, we should ensure decent salaries not only for doctors, but also for medical assistants;

The range of services provided based on the health policy could be extended... to see if the prices of these can be reduced… They are now exploring the possibility of reviewing the medical services intended for grownups, in particular those who suffer from diabetes, so that the health policy covered the purchase of tests.

It is highly improbable that someone will doubt whether the two problems were correctly identified. A question appears here – how did Minister Silvia Radu perceive the core of the problems in healthcare so swiftly without having specialty education in the area? The answer is – probably due to her managerial skills. By all appearances, as a good manager, the first thing that Minister Silvia Radu did was to read the primordial reference documents. For the purpose, it was enough to open the electoral program of the Democratic Party of Moldova (PDM) for the parliamentary elections of November 30, 2014 to see what the party that promoted her to the post of minister of health aimed to do. The PDM’s electoral program formulated four years ago contains the two identified problems and also many other problems, namely:

- Raising of the tariff salary in the health system. The salaries should continue to be raised in the future at an accelerated pace;
- Defining of a minimum package of medical services for each citizen. Health insurance is a public service for which a minimum standard should exist and all the citizens, regardless of their incomes, should benefit from this freely and equally;
- Combating of the inflated prices of medicines and medical devices purchased for hospitals. This is a really that should be dealt with;
- Outfitting of hospitals with modern devices and technologies that would offer better and more efficient medical treatment;
- Development of preventive medicine. It is easier and cheaper to prevent a disease than to treat it. Raising of the funds for diagnostics and medical analyses;
- Implementation of a nationwide program of free analyses that would be aimed at determining the population’s state of health;
- Conduction of an education campaign on citizens’ health with the assistance of family doctors, hospitals and medical centers and of mayor’s offices;
- Creation of medical performance centers in Chisinau (that will serve the entire population, especially the central region), Bălți (that will service the citizens in northern Moldova) and Cahul (for the citizens from southern Moldova). These centers will have highly-qualified health professionals and will be outfitted according to the European standards so as to enable to perform a wide range of examinations and medical treatments;
- Decentralization of the health system. The district and local authorities will receive additional funds for the district and local hospitals.

The fact that Minister Silvia Radu referred only to two pressing problems of the about ten that the PDM promised to address during four years does not mean that she ignored the others. It is now clear that the minister of health has to solve in four months what the PDM aimed to do in four years! This will not be a problem for an authentic crisis manager. What is important is to start work and to take the first steps. For example, she can announce the dismissal of particular functionaries from the system so that things started to improve by themselves. The intrigue here is – if five months remained until the parliamentary elections, why should Minister Silvia Radu carry out the tasks identified above in only four months? The answer could be the following – so as to be motivated to be eventually introduced in the PDM’s list of candidates for the parliamentary elections of February 24, 2019. There is no other explanation why the PDM had to employ a crisis manager in healthcare only five months before the elections.

In conclusion, we can say that sources of social optimism can be anytime identified. The point is that Silvia Radu showed a good performance in the crisis areas she managed earlier and recently. Thus, in only half a year as acting mayor of Chisinau municipality (November – May 2018), she managed to secure a rating of ~17%! For the purpose, she needed to: announce dismissals; install a Christmas tree in a regime of artificial crisis; decorate a public place with a flower carpet; wash some of the streets with the involvement of firefighters who blew the dust from the roadway to sidewalks, etc. As they say – if one wants, it is possible! This way it was actually proven that professor Preobrajensky was right – the crises are in people’s heads, not where the experts see them. While the role of crisis managers is to wash away or erase these crises out of people’s heads.

IPN Experts 

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